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post #1 of 12 Old 05-26-2020, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Western Tack Questions

Hi all,

I am looking to purchase a Western tack question and have loads of questions as I've only ever ridden English. I recently bought a mare to trail ride and hack around for fun as I don't compete anymore. She came with 30-day tune-up training with a Western trainer, and I am also planning to take a Western lesson of some sort so I can understand her training background more. One of the boarding barns I am looking at for her has quite a few Western boarders as well, and with that being said, I want to purchase a tack set. I've been watching videos on this but haven't found one that answers all of my questions that I've listed below. Apologies if these are silly - I am clueless.

1. Are Full Quarter Horse bars the norm in Western saddles? My mare is very wide (XW in English AP saddle), but then again, I feel like many Western horses are...Would a not-Full QH bar saddle not fit? Aren't most Western saddles made to fit stocky QH types? I've watched videos on Western saddle fit but will look up some local saddle fitters because I am confused.

2. What type of Western saddle should I look for if we are just occasionally trail riding and hacking around a few times a week? From what I have seen, "trail" saddles are more expensive? I have been looking at buying used (I've found a few threads on here with brand recommendations) OR getting a Corriente, as the pricing is reasonable and I've also read good recommendations for those on here. It seems like barrel saddles are cheaper, but I am not sure what type of Western saddle will be most comfortable for my horse and myself. There are so many types! Also with the Corrientes - I love the look of the lighter oil saddles, but do these lighter saddles darken quickly? I've only ever had dark brown or black tack. I'm not sure what's "in," but looking on Craigslist/eBay I mostly see dark oil tack.

3. Which type of saddle pad would you all recommend for what I want to do? There are so many materials and types - again, very confused here. I assume it depends on the above questions. Wool? Foam? Those blanket-y ones? Idk.

4. Breastplates - I have heard these are used to prevent the saddle from shifting or something like that. Is this true? Will a saddle with a good fit slip? Do I need one of these?

5. What's the purpose of the back cinch thing? The cinch that straps behind the actual cinch? Do I need this?

6. Do most Western saddles have the set-up where you have to make that tie when connecting the cinch? I have no idea how to describe this, but I've seen ones where you have to tie the latigo and ones where they buckle in. I think I'd prefer the buckle one, but it seems like the tie is more common?

That's all I can think of for now but if anyone has any recommendations or advice for someone who is completely unfamiliar with Western tack, please let me know. Fit and comfort for my horse is first priority, but I also can't break the bank with this set. Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-26-2020, 11:51 PM
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wool pads are the best. 100% virgin is the best of the best.


I dislike barrel saddles for trail riding because of the tall, upright horn. the cantle is also very upright, so it tends to lock you into one place. coming from an English tradition, you will hate this.


A lot of people do not use a rear cinch. you can often get away without it, if you are not doing a lot of hills. Same thing for the breast plate.


In time, you will become enamored with the whole 'look' and will want the whole set up, though. Western tack can really look awesome on a horse!


as to saddle fit, that's a tough one to answer. yeah, maybe FQH bars is a general recommendation, but there is so much variation between saddle makers.


attach a photo of your horse, perhaps, the naked back.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-27-2020, 08:07 AM
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You donít have to have a saddle with a horn. And you donít even have to have an all leather saddle.

Endurance style saddles are very lightweight.

Dressage saddles can also work very well. You can still post at a trot, if itís more natural/comfortableó youíre trail riding not competing in Western Pleasure:)

You may even like a Plantation style saddle. Those are used on Tennessee Walkers who can often be broad shouldered. The TWH in my avatar for example:)

Try and find a saddle under 25 pounds - those beautifully tooled western saddles look great but they can be a big PITA to lift up on a horse all the time:)

Some folks may even mention treeless saddles but those can be a sticky wicket unless the rider has perfect ďbareback balance - not something on my recommendation list.

FWIW the most comfortable trail saddle I have as an ancient Big Horn barrel saddle. I like it for all the reasons @tinyliny doesnít because itís deep seat and low cantle work for the particular back issues I have:).

Any type of saddle can come with different sized bars. Getting a great saddle fit for the horse comes first:)

@phantomhorse13 is our resident hard core endurance rider. Hopefully she is able to come in and offer some suggestions.

I am no help on saddle pads. I have a bazillion of them and donít like any of them for one reason or another,lol. I primarily always rode without a saddle; the Big Horn I mentioned above was always used on one particular horse who can dip/spin in a blink and give me nine cents change for a dime.

IMO what you may have the most trouble getting the hang of is neck reining the horse, as opposed to direct reining:)

Hopefully the trainer of the horse will accommodate you with your English upbringing and not try to convert you to a heavy western saddle, chaps, and Spurs. You can still ride English-style with a few modifications (depending how the horse has been trained).

Trail riding is about smelling the roses and having a good time - itís not about having a certain look:).

I slid my horses down river banks, and power lines bareback, the bulk of my life, in t-shirts, shorts and tennis shoes, carrying a knapsack on my back:). Except for that old Big Horn barrel saddle I put on the dip n spin horse who is now 26 and still in my pasture, lol

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.

Last edited by walkinthewalk; 05-27-2020 at 08:17 AM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-27-2020, 08:28 AM
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Oops forgot a couple of things.

1. The breast collar.

Yes they are needed for rough trail riding. They keep the saddle from sliding back when climbing up steep hills.

Oftentimes a rider will also use a crupper to keep the saddle from sliding forward when going back down those steep hills.

2. Back cinches are to keep the back of the saddle from lifting up in certain situations. Again, unless the horse is a bucker or you are out bushwhacking in rough terrain, itís not needed.


3. These days they make western cinches that buckle. I still prefer to tie a cinch. Itís a matter of choice and also how well the cinch stays in place on the horse with a buckle vs tying.

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-27-2020, 09:10 AM
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Having made the transition from western trail to english trail, I can offer the following opinions:

Get your saddle fitted by a competent saddle fitter. Don't rely on descriptions of how wide the saddle is, those are fairly worthless.

Understand that the western tradition is all structured around cattle ranching in rough country. If you are not planning on handling cattle, or heading out into the mountains on a pack trip, you do not need the heavy weight, the horn, or the back cinch (which is to keep the saddle in place when a calf hits the end of the rope). Get a lightweight trail saddle (synthetics are lighter and cheaper but do not age well), with or without a small horn depending on preference. The only things a horn is useful for to an ordinary trail rider is to hang stuff on if you need to, or to grab instead of being dumped. Can be handy. I don't usually miss having a horn. I have an english VSD saddle fitted with dee rings to which I have added rear latigos, it's all I need.

A breast collar is to keep your saddle from sliding back on steep ascents. Some horses are built so their saddle stays put regardless. If you'll be riding on mild terrain you don't need one. I have one because all my trails are hilly and my horse is round.

If you are used to riding English you may find that you feel much more separate from your horse in a bulky western saddle with many more layers between your legs and the horse's sides. If that is so, look for a lighter saddle with more freely-moving leathers, such as an endurance-style saddle; they come in western and english versions and hybrids thereof.

Don't worry about neck reining. Just practice holding the reins in one hand and moving your hand in the direction you want to go -- you will automatically be neck reining.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-27-2020, 09:33 AM
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Hi...
Get comfy... here comes a book.
I answered much right in your post in blue so question and my response made sense {I hope}..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooves View Post
I am looking to purchase a Western tack question and have loads of questions as I've only ever ridden English. I recently bought a mare to trail ride and hack around for fun as I don't compete anymore. She came with 30-day tune-up training with a Western trainer, and I am also planning to take a Western lesson of some sort so I can understand her training background more. One of the boarding barns I am looking at for her has quite a few Western boarders as well, and with that being said, I want to purchase a tack set. I've been watching videos on this but haven't found one that answers all of my questions that I've listed below. Apologies if these are silly - I am clueless.
Questions asked are never silly if you learn from the answers offered.
If you purchase a "tack set" you should be looking to spend hundreds, like near $800 even used if all are matching items.
If the tack set is $400 or so new...run away. You want to spend to have quality tack not something of junk that will possibly hurt your horse or you...
Leather costs money, so does good synthetic tack. Synthetic is obviously cheaper, many really like it but I am a leather saddle person myself.

1. Are Full Quarter Horse bars the norm in Western saddles? My mare is very wide (XW in English AP saddle), but then again, I feel like many Western horses are...Would a not-Full QH bar saddle not fit? Aren't most Western saddles made to fit stocky QH types? I've watched videos on Western saddle fit but will look up some local saddle fitters because I am confused.
"Bars" all depend upon what is needed by the horse to fit well.
There is no standardized fitting chart in tack...so manufacturer to manufacturer can be different.
There are only a few tree manufacturers so if you find a saddle that fits well, then try to determine tree maker and what other companies utilize those trees.
Saddles are made to fit many different breeds and bone structure from stocky and mutton withered to narrow and high withered and everything imagined in-between.
There are also "breed" saddles that fit different again such as Arab trees, gaited-trees, hoop-trees, mule -trees and such but the common part of that is there is no rule that says you can't try any of them for a good fit regardless of what the tree it is made for. After a bit of trial and error you will begin to see what might work and what won't knowing your horses build as you do.
I have one saddle in semi-bars fit my horse, I also have a different saddle, different manufacturer fit the same horse with full-bars...so it can make a difference.

2. What type of Western saddle should I look for if we are just occasionally trail riding and hacking around a few times a week? From what I have seen, "trail" saddles are more expensive? I have been looking at buying used (I've found a few threads on here with brand recommendations) OR getting a Corriente, as the pricing is reasonable and I've also read good recommendations for those on here. It seems like barrel saddles are cheaper, but I am not sure what type of Western saddle will be most comfortable for my horse and myself. There are so many types! Also with the Corrientes - I love the look of the lighter oil saddles, but do these lighter saddles darken quickly? I've only ever had dark brown or black tack. I'm not sure what's "in," but looking on Craigslist/eBay I mostly see dark oil tack.
There is nothing saying you can't ride in any particular saddle style...it is personal preference and regarding fit to the horse that matters, period.
Don't not look at endurance or Australian cause they may meet your needs with a resemblance to both English and western mixed too.

Many people trail ride in barrel saddles. Not every saddle is shaped the same so some are a looser fit, some are tighter with a higher feeling cantle.
A taller horn is more common on a barrel styled saddle but not always and..if you are going trail riding for hours that horn can come in handy for securing things off of it easier...
Any saddle you need to take care mounting, dismounting from you not get hooked. If you get bucked, landing on any horn really, really hurts but then again being in a barrel saddle that supports you with higher cantle might keep you better positioned...all in how you look at it.
If you have never sat in or ridden a Corriente brand saddle, don't just buy it unseen, untried cause you may hate the feel of it...true of any saddle actually.
Many saddles have fenders hanging from slightly different location/origin point = putting you sitting in different position of comfort and balanced ride astride.
All quality leather saddles darken with use some. If the leather not take use and darken the patina {shading} some you are sitting on inferior leather processed with cheap methods. Often this is seen on cheap saddles made from cheap quality products.
Quality leather tanned properly continues to live and needs nourishing care of cleaned and occasional hydrating the leather {oiling} so it remains pliable and able to move with the horse it is placed on.
For this reason, cleaning and oiling can change shading some as will just riding in the saddle...no different than English tack. {My English saddle was London Tan when I bought it, it has darkened to a dark honey brown with years of use..yet still soft and supple it is.}
Trail saddles are popular because they allow body support in the right places but also the ability to move your legs around to keep balanced if you go over very varied terrain. With a design of long strings to tie things like rain gear on, attach saddle bags through ring or strings the saddles meet many needs of riders who some ride for 6 - 8 hours at a time daily. A padded seat, shaped with a slight pocket for back support many not realize is present they are comfortable for hours of sitting. True trail saddle I've ridden have a slightly narrower shape of saddle top seen as not everyone has wide, wide between the legs anatomy...makes a difference too if you stumble on a females anatomy designed tree...they are slenderer cut.
If you have a wide, wide pelvic area of bone frame, then riding a roping saddle might be more comfortable...it is often who the saddle is geared for that determines how it is shaped narrower to wider in saddle width you sit on...and of course that matters some in tree hidden underneath all that leather and stuffing constructed of.
And wide tread stirrups, padded footbed can change many a saddle from so-so comfort to very comfortable too..

3. Which type of saddle pad would you all recommend for what I want to do? There are so many materials and types - again, very confused here. I assume it depends on the above questions. Wool? Foam? Those blanket-y ones? Idk.
I like wool pads or at least a natural fiber against the horse to my pads as I find wool breathes and cools and absorbs/dissipates wet.
I do not like neoprene, period.

I want my horses back to breathe not sweat and I envision neoprene and other plasticy pads to hold in the heat...everything I've read says a cool back is best. So why would you wrap it in plastic wrap is my thinking.
No matter what pad you use, just placing it on the back and a saddle atop it shall confine heat in...to me I want to release as much heat as possible not bake the back.

What will determine the kind of pad is the fit of the saddle.
A better saddle fit often needs only a thinner saddle blanket not the thicker pad to cushion and fill voids.
Pad/Blanket chosen is also dependent upon the kind of work you plan on doing and the protection the horses back needs to keep them comfortable during their days work...confusing it can become.
Just as in English tack, the blanket used is really only to keep the saddle underside clean...that's it.
So now when you see so many riding with thick padding, extra this or that...to me it speaks of poor fit of saddle if people know what they are doing {often they don't} regardless of saddle discipline.
You also do not need to spend hundreds on a saddle pad as so many do..and I mean many hundreds!!
Nice pads/blankets are available that do a good job under the saddle and used wool pads often outlive the owner and are still usable if they are taken care of...so if you can buy used, do so and save some $$.

4. Breastplates - I have heard these are used to prevent the saddle from shifting or something like that. Is this true? Will a saddle with a good fit slip? Do I need one of these?
Yup, its true...can assist with saddle slippage, not stop it. Goes back to a good fitting saddle...
Are you going to be riding trails that have hard hills to climb where the horse must stretch and pull with their massive shoulders which could slip a saddle out of place when they are exerting themselves?
Is your saddle going to fit well? Well fitting saddles don't move so much..
Some use breastplates just cause it looks nice to the eye...but all tack has a real purpose other than fad/fashion.
Some use breastplates so when mounting the pull and hanging of body weight can only twist just so much before the breastplate catches it...called twisting the spine and indeed causing discomfort to the horses back when you do this.
A quick spring up and soft landing astride needs done regardless of saddle discipline used or use a mounting block please. Your horse will be grateful for that non-twisting of their back.
There are also breastplates and breastcollars, slightly different but used for much the same thing...securing a saddle from slipping if job or terrain puts the horses body under exertion using their shoulders alot more than just in normal motion.

5. What's the purpose of the back cinch thing? The cinch that straps behind the actual cinch? Do I need this?
No, you don't "need" it.
Again, with a well fitting saddle your saddle should not be popping up in the back.
A rear cinch stops the pop-up.
When a saddle pops up in the back often it pinches down on the front/wither area.
If you see a saddle sitting on a horse with the back of it elevated off the spine it is often to wide a fit in front causing a drop down and pinching the wither/shoulder area. All saddles regardless of discipline should sit "level".
Now, if you are calf-roping you need to have that rear strap cause when the cow weight hits end of rope and snaps against the saddles horn you bet the saddle will pop...but a rear cinch in this case holds the saddle level in place, distributing the pressure evenly across the horses anatomy.
If you decide to use a rear cinch, always, always use the connector strap that goes between front & rear cinch or risk riding a bronco if the cinch slips and becomes a bucking strap!

6. Do most Western saddles have the set-up where you have to make that tie when connecting the cinch? I have no idea how to describe this, but I've seen ones where you have to tie the latigo and ones where they buckle in. I think I'd prefer the buckle one, but it seems like the tie is more common?
All saddles have a cinch ring each side for securing the cinch to and I know that tie as a "cinch-tie" in name.
Today though many use cinches with a buckle and latigo tie on both sides of the saddle like billet straps on a English saddle.
It is user preference actually which you use. Both when done correctly are safe to do, have and use.

Where you see some variations is cinch used...my cinch has a "pocket" that my off-side {right side} extra few inches of latigo slips in the pocket so safely tucked away, neat and not going to catch on something and release idea. For me because of what cinch I use this strap is shorter than the other side.
My near side {left side} latigo is long enough I can either do a conventional cinch tie or use the buckle cinch holes in it to secure my saddle. My saddle also has a latigo holder {small leather piece near the saddle pommel with a slit in it} that once I have secured the saddle by the buckle I take my tail excess and gently pull it through that slit so first it is locking my buckle pin tight and second that excess length is not going to tangle around my horses legs or get filthy dragging/catching trail debris in it.
I now use nylon latigo ties both sides of my saddle as they are less bulky and far easier to work with than thick leather straps.
My cinches also have roller buckles on them not flat plates same as my English girths have...easier on me, easier on my tack and less wearing out done to both.
If you choose to do a cinch tie you must make sure your buckle pin lies flat or risk stabbing your self with it...but a cinch with a buckle can also be used with conventional cinch tie or a combination of buckle on off-side and cinch-tie on near...

That's all I can think of for now but if anyone has any recommendations or advice for someone who is completely unfamiliar with Western tack, please let me know. Fit and comfort for my horse is first priority, but I also can't break the bank with this set. Thanks!
Ask to try as many saddles as you can on your horse...
Each saddle will be different to sit in and ride in. Each manufacturer has their own patents in making just like a shoe we wear fits different style to style.

If at all possible use a clean large saddle cloth under the saddle, a cheap blanket for now since you won't be riding hours but maybe 20 minutes just to see how the saddle feels to you and your horse shall tell you enough to know whether you want something like it or not.
First off you will see if you have a decent fit of saddle tree to horses back by dirt/sweat pattern made and secondly it is never a good idea to share pads as germs and bacteria can create havoc one animal to another...things like allergic reactions, fungus and such transfer to easily...ick!

My horses are Quarter and Thoroughbred standing just shy of 16 hands.
I use a 34" western cinch on both of them. I have 32" & 36" but the sweet spot of snug works best with that 34" if you wanted to purchase your own cinch for use when trying saddles this size would possibly work well for you too.
Securing a western saddle is along the same idea as English.
Snug but not tight...they must be able to breathe freely and expand their lungs you will restrict with to tight a lashing on of saddle can do to them.
Latigo ties you can always adjust some to make up a difference if to long or short...there are standard lengths for these pieces that work with most average horses...you don't own a draft nor a pony so you fit "average".

I do much purchasing of my tack/horse needs from Jeffers Equine, Chick Saddlery and Stateline Tack to keep costs down and have decent or better than decent choices in what I want or need.
Mark-up in a tack store is enormous but you must know what it is you want to make smart purchases..
Read information blurbs carefully and if a question call those places as their customer support is top notch in helping you to make the best choice decisions with information you give to their questions presented.
Some items I won't mess with used.
Some things like a saddle absolutely will if it is in decent condition...dirty is one thing, abused, cracked leather goods or integrity of tree is non-negotiable to me and never bought.
Look for horsey yard sales, look in pawn shops, ask and let it be known at your barn you are searching for..check the local Craigslist in the Farm & Garden section...and let it be known once you decide what it is you want cause you never know what is around, who has and for what price...
I'm very leery of buying sight unseen from someone I not know and no chance of a return for my money refunded so I stay away from Ebay and the private seller, but many buy like this with great success.
Personal choice how and where you spend...I prefer seeing, touching, handling and checking it out first before purchasing anyones used.

This forum has so much to offer in our members knowledge, equipment being sold or opinion on quality of certain brands and what would be brands to look for, stay away from and run for the hills kind of knowledge.
Enjoy your search and information gathering.
I apologize for the book but you asked a lot of questions that could benefit from some expanded explanation...and I'm long-winded in my written comments too.
...
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Last edited by horselovinguy; 05-27-2020 at 09:42 AM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-27-2020, 10:20 AM
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I'm sure it seems like a lot to know, I'd be in the same position going to English.

Quote:
1. Are Full Quarter Horse bars the norm in Western saddles? My mare is very wide (XW in English AP saddle), but then again, I feel like many Western horses are...Would a not-Full QH bar saddle not fit? Aren't most Western saddles made to fit stocky QH types? I've watched videos on Western saddle fit but will look up some local saddle fitters because I am confused.
Full-QH and Semi-QH are the most common bars on western saddles. A Full-QH will probably fit fine so I would start there and only worry about the bars further if it clearly won't work. Quarter Horses come in a pretty large variety of shapes these days from big and tanky to not much bigger than an Arabian in the cutting blood lines.

Full-QH bars are popular with people who ride lots of different horses with one saddle.

Quote:
2. What type of Western saddle should I look for if we are just occasionally trail riding and hacking around a few times a week? From what I have seen, "trail" saddles are more expensive? I have been looking at buying used (I've found a few threads on here with brand recommendations) OR getting a Corriente, as the pricing is reasonable and I've also read good recommendations for those on here. It seems like barrel saddles are cheaper, but I am not sure what type of Western saddle will be most comfortable for my horse and myself. There are so many types! Also with the Corrientes - I love the look of the lighter oil saddles, but do these lighter saddles darken quickly? I've only ever had dark brown or black tack. I'm not sure what's "in," but looking on Craigslist/eBay I mostly see dark oil tack.
I have never owned a Corriente or ridden one, but they have good reviews on horseforum. I typically recommend a Roohide cutting saddle to folks looking for a good used saddle at a reasonable price. They tend to have a good ground seat and are comfortable to ride for long hours especially once broke in.

The main differences in western saddles are the swells, horn, cantle and rigging and skirts. A trail saddle and barrel racing saddle tend to be pretty close in design with higher swells and a higher more upright cantle. You could say that some are basically the same design by a different name.

Quote:
3. Which type of saddle pad would you all recommend for what I want to do? There are so many materials and types - again, very confused here. I assume it depends on the above questions. Wool? Foam? Those blanket-y ones? Idk.
The Diamond Wool Contoured Comfort Cutter pad is all I use. They are cheap enough to have several of them around and all you have to do when done riding is rinse them with a hose and leave them in the sun to dry. They are merino wool on the pad side, and sweat a horse very nice.

https://nrsworld.com/products/contou...utter-pad-1-in

Quote:
4. Breastplates - I have heard these are used to prevent the saddle from shifting or something like that. Is this true? Will a saddle with a good fit slip? Do I need one of these?
Breast collars are good for roping and riding up and down hills, and yes they are there to prevent the saddle slipping backwards. Barrel racers and trail riders use these sometimes for the same reason.

My personal favorite are "pulling collars". The main advantage of these is they sit above the horse's shoulder and don't interfere with shoulder movement.

https://nrsworld.com/products/rougho...pulling-collar

Quote:
5. What's the purpose of the back cinch thing? The cinch that straps behind the actual cinch? Do I need this?
It stops the back of the saddle from tipping up. For trail riding I would recommend it if you think you will be traveling up and down hills.

There is a hobble or keeper that links the front and rear cinch together. This is important and should be adjusted to hold the rear cinch in place. Without that keeper the rear cinch can slide back into the flank area, and that might turn your horse into a rodeo bronc :)

Just a little detail that isn't necessarily something you would know from looking at pictures.

Quote:
6. Do most Western saddles have the set-up where you have to make that tie when connecting the cinch? I have no idea how to describe this, but I've seen ones where you have to tie the latigo and ones where they buckle in. I think I'd prefer the buckle one, but it seems like the tie is more common?
Buckles are more common these days on both sides. They aren't difficult to change and most western tack stores carry off side billets (right side) and latigos (left side) you can replace them with.

Last edited by jgnmoose; 05-27-2020 at 10:32 AM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-27-2020, 10:52 AM
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All IMHO:

If you really want to know what size tree fits your horse, I recommend this Steele program:

https://online.flippingbook.com/view/953394/10/ - go to pages 10/11.

It isn't free but it wasn't all that expensive either, and looking at how a tree fits doing this is vastly easier:



In that one, the saddle tree would have had too much rock - the curve from front to back. Mia needed a flatter tree. Takes the guess work out, although not all manufacturers use the same size designations as Steele. But Steele is the largest maker of saddle trees in the USA, so....

No need for a breastplate or a rear cinch to keep the saddle steady if the saddle fits. Unless you are doing roping or dragging. If the saddle fits well, it will stay pretty steady even going up or down a steep spot without additional straps. If you need to tighten the cinch after praying to Thor for strength before mounting, either your mounting technique is bad or your saddle doesn't fit.

I like wool pads. I've used Diamond and they have performed great.

Type of saddle is up to you. Sit in a few at a store and get an idea. My favorite of the ones I own is the <$400 Abetta I bought new. 1/5th the price of my semi-custom leather saddle and I like it better. I did a cheap modification of it to allow the stirrup straps to slide more forward without snagging on the D-ring:





Weighs 17 lbs and I can hose it off if it gets dirty. It has a Ralide tree but they are strong enough for any riding I'll ever do:


The $2000 saddle I rarely use:



You can learn a lot about saddles here:

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 2

Saddle fit - Western compared to English Part 3

Daniel Dauphin has a lot of great videos on things like bits, how to mount, and western riding in general.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU7...F7OxdRA/videos

good luck and enjoy!
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-27-2020, 12:11 PM
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I've found this applies western or English but am using English as the example as it is current. It also goes for different brands and styles of saddles no matter the discipline.


When looking new saddles recently I went by what was on the horse that fit. That was a 30ish year old Collegiate Senior Event saddle. Markings indicated EW tree. Fit the horse like a dream. I also have a Collegiate Senior Event that is only 12 to 15 years old. Markings indicate W tree. It fits the same as the other. I borrowed a brand new medium width from the same brand - different style Degree Mono Event with gullet set to medium. Fit pretty much the same. Three widths, three different ages but all basically the same width by inches. I feel a reflection on the way we feel about sizing. There was a post somewhere I saw on jeans that were all the same size size but when overlaid the waist and hips were different for every pair.



Make tracings and bring them with when looking. Talk to the sales people. I want to say someone here had posted an easy way to make a mold of your horses back fairly inexpensively though there are kits available. I found with my search there are people out there that with pictures, tracings and a fair amount of detailing what you want and will use it for can come up with something that works.

Some horse people change their horse, they change their tack and discipline, they change their instructor; they never change themselves.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-27-2020, 01:48 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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I wanted to clarify my comments on barrel saddles.



I didn't ride Western until I had ridden years in a fairly low cantled dressage saddle. I was used to being able to shift my seat easily. And, I'll be honest, my SEAT is a big one!


The barrel saddle made me feel trapped, and when we went up a hill, as I leaned forward, that horn literally gouged into my belly (which is ample).



So, this opinion is from a 'plus sized ' person. If the OP is not that way, she might not care about the size of the horn.

They are, as said, handy for hanging things off of.


I used to ride in a Crate trail saddle. that saddle was so comfortable and so well balanced I could post in it easily.
walkinthewalk and bsms like this.
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